Cook: McCarthy So Complimentary About Celina
Friday, 10th Sep 2021 10:54
Paul Cook says former Blues manager Mick McCarthy was hugely complimentary regarding new loan signing Bersant Celina’s appetite for the game, something the Kosovo international has already shown the current Town boss in his first few days back at the club.
TWTD revealed that the Blues were chasing Celina back at the start of July with the loan deal from French side Dijon eventually confirmed on deadline day after a summer in which the forward, who celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday, had suffered with Covid and pericarditis.
Celina, who was previously on loan at the club in 2017/18 during McCarthy’s time in charge, isn’t yet ready to make his second Blues debut due to his interrupted pre-season with Cook having pencilled in the trip to Lincoln in a week’s time for his first involvement.
Asked how excited he is at the prospect of having both Celina and Kyle Edwards, who misses tomorrow’s home game against Bolton, in his side, Cook laughed: “I think [Trotters boss] Ian Evatt will be delighted to see them sitting in the stand, that’s what I know for sure because if I was Ian I’d be delighted.
“Again, it’s the quality and depth that we have at the club and while we’re all excited, which we are, I can only tell our supporters how good these lads have looked in training, how quickly we want to get the players on the pitch and performing for them and hopefully we can bring supporters back through the gates in numbers like that have been doing.
“Our own support has been incredible, we’ve sold out every away game and at the minute we’re disappointing them a little bit, let’s have it right. We hold our hands up to that, but I think tomorrow will be a different day.”
Regarding Celina, he said: “I’ve got to say I’ve heard so many good stories about Bersant before I’d met him and I’d spoken to [former Town boss] Mick McCarthy about him who was so complimentary about him it was untrue, about his appetite to get better and how much he loves football and wants to play.
“And I’ve got to tell our supporters a little story. When he came in the first day and he wasn’t allowed to train with what goes on around it [Covid protocols], so he actually took a ball home to practice at home, and it’s something that made me very proud.
“To have such a talented boy come in, staying in a hotel and asking if he could take a ball home because he wanted to practice.
“And I can guarantee our fans, whatever happens, we’ve got a really good player on our hands that I’m sure our fans will be very excited to watch.
“They’ve seen him before. In my opinion, I’ve watched his career from playing against him, managing against him. He’s matured as a lad, he’s matured probably as a person, and he’s desperate [for success].
“The biggest positive we had in our favour when we went for him was how much he loved Ipswich Town Football Club.
“It wasn’t for Paul Cook, and it wasn’t for [CEO] Mark Ashton, it wasn’t for the new board, with the greatest respect, it was the experience he’d had playing at Portman Road and our supporters. So a massive pat on the back to them.”
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